Former French president's belongings earn £100,000 for charity

Clothes by Chanel and Dior and a pair of black velvet slippers embroidered with the French Socialist Party emblem were among hundreds of items belonging to France's former president François Mitterrand that raised more than £100,000 at auction for his widow's charity.

Mitterrand’s slippers: sold for €1,000
Mitterrand’s slippers: sold for €1,000
Danielle Mitterrand decided to sell many of her late husband’s possessions, and her own, to raise £70,000 for her human rights charity Fondation France Libertés. But the auction exceeded all expectations.

The 368 lots reveal a taste for luxury from the Socialist leader, with designer clothes from Jil Sander and Hermes, top hats, moccasins and fine art pieces from around the world.

About 300 people attended the sale at auctioneer Drouot in Paris for a chance to purchase items from Mitterrand’s wardrobe or one of the many gifts from international leaders such as Fidel Castro and Barbara Bush that he’d accumulated during his 14 years in power.

Auction organiser Bénédicte Blondeau-Wattel said most items had price tags of between €20 and €450 (£15 and £335), “so that all the French people who loved Mitterrand can make bids”. But that good intention did not last long in the face of aggressive bidding.

A dark fedora hat, one of Mitterrand’s favourites, fetched a whopping €7,800 (£5,800), 10 times more than its original price. His lawyer’s robe sold for €8,000 (£5,960) and a pair of black velvet slippers embroidered with the French Socialist Party emblem of a red rose went for €1,000 (£744).

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